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When The Answer Disappoints

Moody Church Hour / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
May 29, 2022 1:00 am

When The Answer Disappoints

Moody Church Hour / Erwin Lutzer

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May 29, 2022 1:00 am

Many Christians are cynical because of a personal story where God did not intervene when they needed him. How can we respond to disappointment with God? In this message, we’ll receive four facts about faith from the heroes in Hebrews 11. Faith always leads to ultimate victory, but it may not change our immediate struggles. 

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There are few things that can burden the soul like suffering from an illness but never seems to improve or finding oneself suddenly disabled and calling out to God for the healing that seems to be promised in the Scriptures when the healing never comes a sense of deep disappointment sets in, and many Christians resolve to never pray again feeling what's the use from Chicago. This is The Moody Church. Our weekly service of worship and teaching with pastor Erwin Blitzer. Today we conclude a series on the triumph of unanswered prayer and our focus on this broadcast will be from the book of Hebrews on handling those times when the answer is disappointment. Special guest pianist Abed Young joins Moody Churches Scott Griffin at the keyboards to open today's service and well you just heard our own Scott Griffin and the young as our special guest artist. We welcome you today and your wife, Laura Laura, would you stand so that we could welcome you and you a hand as well. Dr. Young is an historic and is to come closer and conductor, he has than 7000 performances. To his credit in major concert halls, churches and college campuses and you can read more about him in your bulletin today. Most of us I think know about them because of the celebrated piano duo of Nielsen and young so we welcome you today. I want you to take your him know if you would please and turn to 215 were going to be using our hymnals this morning. 215 when morning gilds the skies are scripture reading today is by one of our deacons Evan Price and he'll be reading and we have the privilege of participating as indicated and then be prepared for 712. Be still my soul and 680 to 1 of my favorite songs.

Guide me old Val great Jehovah I'm going to pray and after we have prayed and invited the presence of the Lord to be with us.

We will stand and participate in 215 our father. We do indeed pray and ask that among us, Jesus Christ will be praise both in song and within our hearts, and most assuredly we want to offer you today ourselves and invite your blessed Holy Spirit to direct us to lead us and we pray that the blessing of the Lord would be here for your glory in Jesus name, amen of God's word from Psalm chapter 34. Please join me on the bold print I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul makes its boast in the Lord, let the humble hear and be glad all magnify the Lord with me and let us exalt his name together. I sought the Lord and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.

Those who look to him our radiance and their faces shall never be ashamed. This poor man cried and the Lord heard him and Satan out of all his troubles. Many are the afflictions of the righteous but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones. Not one of them is broken. Affliction will slay the wicked and those who hate the righteous will be condemned. The Lord my service.

Nana has taken refuge in him will be condemned. I'm sure it's true to say that one of the greatest disappointments that you can ever experience in life is the disappointment of unanswered prayer. If you're just a question of why there are so many Christians who are cynical, they would tell you some stories about how God did not intervene when they needed him. Sometimes when they needed him the most. We all had the experiences you know you pray for finances and then something happens. Maybe you even lose your job and you say well that's not the answer I was seeking, you pray for protection, and sometimes God gives it to you and then at other times there are accidents and we call on God.

One day I was on a plane and there were some other Christians there and they show Pastor Lutzer were so glad that you're on this plane with this because if we had turbulent weather.

We know that you have connection sand that you can probably get the turbulence to stop.

I said no I said I'm just in sales not in management but the question where is God when we need him, but I suppose that the deepest disappointment that people ever feel has to do with the divine healing.

When you see a child suffer when you see a young mother died of cancer, leaving three children behind. It is at times like this that our faith becomes so eroded. We wonder whether we can go on believing Barbara Sander Bill quadriplegic said these words, knowing God had the power to heal me but wouldn't made me very bitter.

I would read passages like Isaiah 53 in first Peter accusing God of holding the promise of healing before me like a piece of meat before as starving dog got.

He tempted me with the possibility, but never enabled me to reach it. That's why people are turned off. God does not come through for them well as you know, this is the sixth and last in a series of messages. The triumph of unanswered prayer. And what we've been doing is seeing the triumph when prayer doesn't happen when the answer is denied when it's disguised. I hope that you get that message because that one emphasizes what it is like to worship God even if the answer is in their today were going to turn to Hebrews chapter 11 when were going to see that God does miracles for some people and not for others. Yet he expects us to go on believing anyway.

Hebrews chapter 11 is the passage of Scripture and I would like to give you today for facts about faith for facts about faith that we hope will put all of this into perspective that will enable all of us to go on believing and honoring God with our faith because the Bible says that when we have faith we presented to Jesus at his appearing. The trial of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes though it be tried with fire might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ. First fact about faith. Faith sometimes changes our circumstances. You look at Hebrews chapter 11 and it is filled with heroes who saw huge miracles we could talk about Abraham, we could always speak more clearly. Even in terms of miracles about Moses that begins in verse 23, but let me simply pick it up at verse 29.

Speaking about Moses by faith. The people crossed the Red Sea as if on dry land but the Egyptians when they attempted to do the same were drowned. What a miracle Moses stands there with his staff in his hand, and God parts the waters and then if that isn't enough, in terms of miracles by faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days and we could go on and on and the author knows that he could go on and on. So he says in verse 32 and what more shall I say there was a pastor who is preaching and interminably long message and he got to this phrase and says yes and what more shall I say in someone in the back row said try on man ever since that time. I keep my eyes on the folks in the back row. He knows that he could go on for a bit so he says and what more shall I say time would fail to tell of Gideon Derek Sampson Jephthah David Samuel and the prophets who through faith. Conquered kingdoms enforce justice, obtain promises, stop the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire escape the edge of the sword were made strong weakness became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight women received back their dead by resurrection. You talk about miracles and you've got dozens of them. In this passage. Think of the different kinds of miracles who are here are women who receive their dead back as it was during the days of Elijah. Talk about a resurrection.

Talk about a healing you have miracles that have to do with the protection of God's people stop the mouths of lions, a reference to Dan give God healed relationships and you've got all kinds of battles that were fought, and God miraculously gave the victory.

Sometimes faith changes our circumstances. Please keep that in mind, but number two in terms of the facts are these. Sometimes faith does not change our circumstances. Did you notice I hope that all of you have your Bibles open for did you notice that I stopped reading in the middle of verse 35.

Now normally I don't stop in the middle of the verse, but here I did because there is a break in the middle of the verse. You have to understand that when the manuscripts of the New Testament were written, they did not have chapters or verse divisions. Those were added later to make it easier to find various passages and I think that the person who gave the verse divisions here should have begun a new verse in the middle of verse 35, but he didn't and so that's where I stopped because the text is open there is middle of verse 35 all right. Women received back their dead by resurrection, but some. Oh, there's another category somewhere, tormented, refusing to accept release so that they might rise again to a better life.

Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment.

They were stoned, they were sawn into they were killed with the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goat skins being destitute, afflicted, mistreated of in the world was not worthy wandering about in deserts and mountains and dens and caves in the earth, and we might add, and that there was no deliverance, none they were sawed into. He says that's a reference to Isaiah the great prophet, wasn't he a person of faith. Why didn't God come to his deliverance.

May I ask the reference to that profit and then when he goes on talking about wondering about with the goat skins and trying to live in caves and in poverty and being persecuted very probably a reference to the time of the Maccabees. There was a man by the name of Antiochus epiphanies who went into Egypt and then came into the land of Israel, and he offered to sell on the altar to insult the Jews and then he began her rendering this persecution. Eliezer was the high priest any skin that the high priest alive. I will not even tell you what he did with Eliezer's seven sons because it's too gruesome but just know that he dismembered them in some very, very torturous ways. Where was God when that was happening.

Let me ask you faith sometimes changes our circumstances. Sometimes it doesn't change your circumstances. Now that was then what about today. Let's fast-forward it. We always think that the time when the church was persecuted is the early centuries. Let me be clear about something more people had died. As Christian martyrs in the last 35 to 50 years then ever die in the persecutions of early Rome, thousands of people have been put to death. There's a magazine that I get and Rebecca said to me she asked me recently whether or not I read it and I have to confess not too often, but I should read it often called the voice of the martyrs begun by Richard worm brand who has spoken here at The Moody Church. By the way, and who was imprisoned in Romania many years ago under conquered, but this magazine details all the persecutions around the world.

Yesterday, I read the story of a young man by the name of Lorenzo newly married 22 years old goes into a village and is identified as being a Christian asked to dig his own grave, which he does leading pleading for his release and after his grave is Doug and nooses put around his neck and he is strangled to death and left in the grave to die.

It's happening today in countries of the world under communism. Yes under some countries, and Islam, your brothers and sisters are crying out to God for deliverance and they're not seeing the walls of Jericho full. They're not seeing the Red Sea as it parts what they are doing is they are crying up to God and saying God where are you save our families deliver us and for the most part they see very little deliverance. Though there are some surprising stories of God's intervention faith sometimes changes our circumstances. Sometimes it doesn't. You know we love to tell the story of Daniel and close the mouths of lions and it's a true story, but my wife and I Rebecca we been to Rome and we walked through the Circus Maximus were all those Christians didn't die and they were thrown to animals and there was no one there. There was no angel that came out of heaven to close the mouths of those hungry beasts, and they were torn into faith sometimes changes our circumstances. Sometimes faith does not change our circumstances. Number three faith never judges God by circumstances, faith, never judges God by circumstances. Faith never says well God, since you haven't healed that person. And since you haven't done what you think I should. I'm out of here. No reason that these people.

The second category in Hebrews 11.

The reason that they also are in the catalog of faith.

When you speak of the heroes of faith. The Westminster Abbey of faith in the 11th chapter of Hebrews. Never forget to include in the last category that never saw the miracles, but they didn't judge God by circumstances. They believed that God was doing the right to buy them even though he does things differently have asked chapter 12 James is beheaded and then later on Peter is delivered both of them in prison. One save one not that mean, isn't this the way life is is a deliverance overhearing no deliverance over there.

Both are heroes of faith sometimes what we need to do is to simply hang on to promises like this, who shall separate us from the love of Christ shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness or danger or sword as it is written, for your sake we are being killed all the day long we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered, know it all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

For I'm sure that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor right, nor depth, nor anything else in all of creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Paul is saying what will separate you from Christ love will being killed. Do it know the sword won't do it will sickness do it. Sickness won't do it. Can angels do it. Angels can do it.

Can demons do. Demons can do it and you keep believing no matter what some of you haven't been taking notes yet. God bless you a few of you have. We actually help you. Don't wait by giving you my outline in the bulletin. Do you like that. By the way I do that for you every blessed week but here's what I'd like you to write down faith isn't merely receiving from God what we want.

Sometimes faith is simply accepting whatever God gives us faith is accepting whatever God gives us that also is faith look at Jesus in Gethsemane see their father if it be that I will let this cup pass from me. Jesus please see him there.

Nevertheless, not as I will but is now an angry bitter woman said to her pastor. So where was your God when my son was killed and he said he was in the same place where he was when his son was killed. Faith accepts whatever God gives us, we commit ourselves to God and then we leave the decision with him yesterday to be more clear last week when I preached on what commitment means, and I hope that you're here to hear that. When I preached on what commitment means and how we commit ourselves to God. Someone asked me later a very good question this, it will just that just mean we commit everything to God, and I don't pray anymore listen when you and I commit something to God, will pray more about it than we ever have, but our prayers will be filled with thanksgiving and praise, in a sense of confidence that it's off our shoulders and it's on God's true Christian does not believe that there is no value in prayer. Unless you see an answer that you would like to see prayer has other values as we been trying to help each other to understand prayer means that I draw near to God with my need I come preoccupied with my need but I leave preoccupied with God and I believe that what God does in me is sometimes more important than what God does for me, as he teaches me faith as he teaches me love even when I don't see the miracles faith never judges God by miracles or I should say never judges God by circumstances.

Number four. Faith always leads to ultimate victory. It always leads to ultimate victory. I'm back now in just a moment looking at Hebrews chapter 11 again. By the way.

Faith always leads to ultimate victory.

Yes Hebrews chapter 11 want to give you an illustration of how people of faith, except disappointment. How do they do it and why is it that they can ultimately be blessed, even though they don't see the miracle they desire.

Let me read you a story that is very familiar to all of you. It's found in the book of Daniel, and it has to do with three friends, Shadrach me shack and a Bendigo Bible school used to say shake the bed, make the bed and intubate you go Shadrach me shack and Abednego the king says to them bow down before this image if you do not bow down before this image I will throw you into the fiery furnace. By the way, something not quite like that. But something approaching it could end up being our lot as well. But this is what they say.

I love this old Nebuchadnezzar.

We have no need to answer you in this matter is even discussing this. If this be so our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your handle king but now notice, but if not, be it known unto you locating that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have said God can deliver us if he wants to, but if he doesn't we will be people who die in the faith, believing that God knows best. Are you to that point in your Christian experience. All God. We know that you are able to heal so-and-so. We know that you're able to take care of this situation. But if you don't let Angels and Demons than anyone else around me know that I will not swerve in my commitment to you because faith isn't merely receiving from God the things that I want. Faith is the melody to receive whatever God gives me.

Let it be known that I will continue to believe your sale what does the text mean when it talks about faith, leading to ultimate victory.

I'm still in Chapter 11 and I'm in verse 39.

All these though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised. Since God had provided something better for us that apart from us. They should not be made perfect.

What's going on there in the text.

First of all, they died in faith, and they didn't receive what was promised. As we mentioned in an earlier message. Abraham did not see the fulfillment of the promises that God gave them God says Abraham you're going to have a Landon you're going to have that land.

I'm going to give it to you into your prosperity of prosperity I think. I mean to say, but he also promised him prosperity. Yes, that's right. You know sometimes when you're speaking you get your Ming's thick stuff and you begin backing talk words.

It happens every once in a while he says Abraham you're gonna have children and they're going to inherit it.

But this land is yours and he has to buy a plot of ground to bury his wife Sarah Caleb Mike Vela so there's Abraham he's dying without seeing the fulfillment of the promises Moses dies in his sins are forgiven, most assuredly, but is not seen the fulfillment of all of the promises Jesus hasn't come yet. That's why the text says that without us they could made perfect. I mean if you were here when I preached about this just at founders week you'll notice that I preached about how people were saved in the old test

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